(INDEPENDENT) — Modern life is making us lonelier, and recent research indicates that this may be the next biggest public health issue on par with obesity and substance abuse. A recent review of studies indicates that loneliness increases mortality risk by 26%.
Loneliness is an increasing problem in modern life. The Church Urban Fund and the Church of England found a rise of 10 per cent in the last three years in clergy members who felt that social isolation was a major problem in their local area. Another survey by the Mental Health Foundation found that in the UK one in ten of us feels lonely often and 48 per cent of people think we are getting lonelier in general. Britain has even been voted the loneliness capital of Europe.
So why are we getting lonelier? Changes in modern society are considered to be the cause. We live in nuclear family units, often living large distances away from our extended family and friends, and our growing reliance on social technology rather than face to face interaction is thought to be making us feel more isolated. It means we feel less connected to others and our relationships are becoming more superficial and less rewarding.
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